Number of Irish citizens seeking to leave Afghanistan increases to 33

ireland
Number Of Irish Citizens Seeking To Leave Afghanistan Increases To 33
People at Kabul Airport, Afghanistan waiting to be evacuated. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said the number of Irish passport holders in Afghanistan waiting to come to Ireland has increased to 33 - 25 adults and eight dependents.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he explained the Government is working closely with its EU partners and the UK to secure places on military flights once Kabul Airport is secured.

“People will not be left behind,” Mr Coveney said.

It could take a few days for the 33 people to get out, as the situation at the airport remained chaotic, he added.

The process of getting them out was underway and Ireland was relying on the US for safe passage for them through Kabul Airport, the Minister said.

Mr Coveney added he was confident the people would get out “so long as the airport is secured”, but it was a fluid situation.

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The emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday involved “a very good discussion” with European countries agreeing to join together to ensure all EU citizens could get out of Afghanistan.

Some countries had better resources than Ireland, so it made sense to avail of them, he said.

'Deploy army rangers'

Meanwhile, Independent TD and former army ranger Cathal Berry has called on Ireland to deploy up to 12 members of the army ranger wing to Kabul airport to coordinate the extraction of Irish citizens.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today show, he said up to 12 members of the wing could be sent without requiring the resolution of the Dáil. “They could be there within 24 hours,” he added.

Dr Berry said it was very important for all nations to facilitate the exit of their citizens, they needed to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The rangers could embed with UK forces, which they have done in the past on other missions, he pointed out. At present there were members of the ranger wing in Mali, embedded with German troops on a similar mission.

“Their job is to protect Irish citizens, at home and abroad.”

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